Apple, Sony enjoy high loyalty levels in UK

21 June 2010

LONDON: Apple and Sony are among the brands with the most loyal customers in the UK, a new report has shown.

Satmetrix, the consultancy, surveyed 8,700 adults in the country, asking them to analyse the quality of their purchases in a variety of sectors in the last 12 months.

Its study was based on the Net Promoter Score, which determines the likelihood that a consumer will recommend a product due to its attributes in fields such as service, value and features.

More specifically, it used a ten-point scale, and subtracted the number of "Detractors", or people awarding a brand six points or less, from the number of "Promoters" giving it nine or ten points.

In the mobile handset category, Apple's iPhone received a rating of 67%, leaving it 80 points ahead of the device with the lowest score in this area and 49 points above the average.

The company's iMac also posted the best figures in the computer hardware segment on 52%, doubling the norm of 21% recorded in this sector, and 45 points in front of the worst-performing operator.

Looking to mobile networks, O2 took first place on 24%, although shoppers were largely negative about this category as a whole, with the firms appraised on just 3% as a group.

Attitudes were similarly unfavourable with relation to internet service providers, with Virgin Media and Sky taking the top two spots on around 10%, which was considerably better than the industry-wide total of –11%.

"Our goal of putting the customer centre stage is starting to be achieved," said Neil Berkett, the chief executive of Virgin Media.

"We're not there yet but we've gone from bottom of the pile, comparing ourselves with everybody in our space, to a pleasing result today."

Sony was the most highly-regarded manufacturer for TV sets and DVD players on 39%, coming in ahead of rivals like LG, Panasonic and Samsung.

Elsewhere, Saga claimed the honours for car insurance on 17%, and First Direct led the banks on 42%, two further markets where perceptions were stood in minus numbers.

"First Direct launched 21 years ago this year with the primary aim of putting our customers' needs at the centre of the business," Matt Colebrook, the chief executive of First Direct, said.

"It is fantastic to know that we are still the clear leader in providing excellent customer service."

Overall, Satmetrix estimated that ten million consumers in the UK have changed the companies they do business within the last six months.

The reasons behind this “switching epidemic” were said to include fees and charges that were believed to be “unfair”, as well as poor product quality and disappointing service.

Data sourced from Satmetrix; additional content by Warc staff